Sunday Reflections - The Election

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

This week I want to focus on the election.

President - Elect Joe Biden exceeded the 270 electoral votes Saturday morning, and will  become the 46th President of the United States, pending President Trump's lawsuits fail to overturn the election results in multiple states. After the press called the election for Biden, news outlets and social media showed supporters of Biden gathering in public to celebrate – the standards of when it's acceptable to gather and when it's frowned upon is a moving target that's dictated by partisanship rather than science at this point – Biden supporters (or anti-Trumpers) in D.C., Los Angeles, Austin, and New York City joined together to celebrate the defeat of President Trump. These cities also boarded their stores before the election in fear of riots following a Trump victory– a sad measure needed to be taken as some citizens on the left see the destruction of property as an acceptable form of protest–It's not. – I suppose I could say I'm relieved that Biden won so small business owners, already crippled by the pandemic, don't have to worry about their stores being pillaged – for now.

But overall, it's important to note that the presidential victory for Democrats is one of the few highlights for them this election cycle. Yes, President Trump with his flawed character will no longer be in power. Yes, Vice President - Elect Harris is a first for the United States (the first person of color and woman to be elected Vice President). But short of the presidency, Democrats didn't make great strides in this election. Republicans chipped away at Speaker Pelosi's majority in the House, the senate will likely stay in Republican control (pending the run off election in Georgia), and Republicans held onto many of the state legislatures. While Democrats celebrate the victory at the top of the ticket today, the elections of tomorrow are being determined down the ballot.

For example, let's look at the Texas senate race between Sen. John Cornyn and Mj Hegar. Following the near defeat of Senator Cruz in 2018 by Beto O'Rourke, everyone and their polls put Texas "in play" for Democrats to flip blue in 2020. For two years the media, national and state Democrats prophesied of a massive blue wave coming that would deliver the Texas House, multiple congressional seats, and possibly the presidency to Democrats. A wave they said that was always there, just below the surface, but had been delayed by low voter turnout and fundraising. But after a record turnout of 11 million votes, and massive spending by Democrats from outside of Texas, the results showed Democrat polls were wrong and their money was wasted.

Hegar, an Army veteran with a commendable service record, garnered national attention after her first race for a congressional seat in 2018. She rode the Beto wave (2018 was the last year of straight ticket voting in Texas) and narrowly lost. Riding this momentum, and the rumors of the "real" blue wave to come in 2020, she launched her senate campaign and fought through a Democratic primary to face Cornyn. Democrat institutions around the country bought into Hegar and her chances of winning a senate seat in Texas. This led to massive fundraising numbers. From July 1 to September 30, she out raised Sen. Cornyn $14 million to $7 million. In the final weeks of the election, more money was infused from outside of Texas to fuel her race. A Silicon Valley Super Pac threw $28 million in t.v. ads to put Hegar over the top. The result of this massive effort from the Democrat leadership to flip a senate seat in Texas? Cornyn won by 10 points. That's as close to a blow out in politics as it gets. In fact, Cornyn won more votes than Trump in Texas, an astounding 5,937,157 votes to be exact. This result wasn't the exception. It happened all the way down the ballot, including the Texas state House seats, where the races were for a lot more than just a senate seat.

Democrats claimed nine seats in the Texas House of Representatives were up for grabs, which if flipped, would give them control of the House. This would place a Democrat as Speaker of the House, which would be a huge asset during the upcoming legislative session when they will redraw the congressional and state seats for the next ten years. But the blue wave failed to show up for them as it did for Hegar. Republicans kept control of the House and a Republican Speaker has already been un-officially selected.

The story in Texas is the same for many states around the country. The fact is, Democrats used their resources poorly in 2020. Their leadership put money into races that stood little chance of winning. The consequences of which will last a decade. Nationally, their party is fractured between moderate career politicians (Biden, Pelosi, Schumer) and the more polarized and liberal wing of the party (AOC, Bernie–who is a career politician as well) who revel in identity politics (us vs. them). And if the Presidential results stand, Republicans are prime for ousting Biden in 2024, and they may even have the House by 2022.

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